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Trung Thuy to build resort on disputed land in Dalat   2010-09-09 - VietNamNet/SGT

The Trung Thuy Group Corporation is readying ground breaking for its US$20-million resort on a two-hectare area in Dalat City, a site earlier allocated to Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group (HAGL) and then controversially recalled by Lam Dong Province.

This is the villa design that The Trung Thuy Group Corporation plans to build on the “Le Jardin” area in Dalat. - Photo: Courtesy of The Trung Thuy Group Corporation
This is the villa design that The Trung Thuy Group Corporation plans to build on the “Le Jardin” area in Dalat. - Photo: Courtesy of The Trung Thuy Group Corporation
Duong Thanh Thuy, board chairwoman of Trung Thuy, said her HCMC-based company planned to start work on the “Le Jardin” project in Ward 9 in the upland resort city on September 25 and complete construction by the end of 2011.

Thuy told the Daily on the phone on Tuesday about the project after HAGL lodged a document to the Prime Minister and relevant agencies to denounce Chairman of Lam Dong Province Huynh Duc Hoa for what is termed as an irregularity in recalling the land plot.

In the petition signed by HAGL Vice Chairman Tra Van Han on August 27, the group proposed an overall probe into the alleged violations of Hoa linked to the issuance of Document 6986/UBND-XD dated September 22, 2009 to recall the land plot, which covers the premises of 11 old villas already approved for HAGL.

These villas are among the 20 houses on an area of 45,882 square meters on Pho Duc Chinh and Nguyen Du streets allocated to HAGL to use for tourism purpose for 50 years. The land allocation decision was based on Contract 09 that Gia Lai-based HAGL signed with Lam Dong’s Xuan Huong Tourism Services Co. in December 2003 and Contract No. 818/HDTTS with the Lam Dong Department of Finance in 2008.

HAGL has put into service eight of the 15 allocated villas and the rest are still on hold as these buildings scatter and are intertwined with the five villas that Lam Dong has not handed over to the company due to slow compensation.

HAGL said it transferred nearly VND1 billion in June 2003 to support resettlement of affected families in line with a document by Dalat City’s Office of Finance and Planning to boost the transfer of the villas to the company. But, things almost remain unchanged.

The Lam Dong government ordered HAGL to invest in the remaining allocated villas before October 10, 2009 otherwise the company would have these houses taken back. However, while the deadline had not come due, the province issued Document 6986/UBND-XD to withdraw 11 villas.

The province explained that HAGL was slow in upgrading the allocated villas, which was challenged by the company which said that it was in the process of preparations for starting the upgrade work and that the deadline had not come. HAGL also blamed Lam Dong for site clearance and compensation delays.

Furthermore, HAGL said it had not been informed of the recall though a contract between the company and the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment clarified it had to be given notice 30 days ahead of the withdrawal.

HAGL said Document 6986 was not transparent or was not issued in a procedural order by the province’s chairman. This was the reason why the dispute between HAGL and Lam Dong climaxed.

Now, HAGL wants an investigation into the case, which the company claimed had placed a bad impact on its business image as well as the investment environment of the Central Highlands province.

The case seems to turn complicated when Thuy of Trung Thuy confirmed with the Daily that the company would continue the “Le Jardin” project on two hectares as licensed by Lam Dong authorities, since the dispute was between HAGL and Lam Dong only.

When completed, the project will have 20 French-architecture villas, a tourist center, a spa, a garden of herbal plants used to treat old guests from Japan and other markets in Asia. Trung Thuy will renovate some of the 11 villas involving HAGL and rebuild the remainder.

Thuy acknowledged Trung Thuy had heard about the dispute between HAGL and Lam Dong, but said the company invested in the project as suggested by the Lam Dong government. The province said it wanted an active investor to fasten work on the area.

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